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Supporting Friends During COVID-19

It’s hard not to see your friends at school or on weekends because of physical distancing. However, you can still stay connected to them while at home with video chats, text messaging, phone calls and social media. You can maintain your friendships and support each other through this difficult time.

While you’re talking to your friends online or on the phone, it’s important that you look for warning signs that may indicate they are really struggling and need help. Pay attention to what they are posting and sharing online. Negative messages, photos, videos, links, comments or hashtags may suggest the person is in emotional distress.

If this is the case, reach out to your friend to ask how they are doing and get them connected to a supportive and responsible adult, if needed.

If you or a friend feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others, call 911 or one of the national crisis resources below.

National Crisis Resources

  1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for free 24/7 support. Call 1-888-628-9454 for support in Spanish.
  2. Crisis Text Line: Text “MHFA” to 741741 for free 24/7 crisis counseling.
  3. Lifeline Crisis Chat: Visit crisischat.org to talk online with crisis centers around the United States.
  4. The Trevor Project: Call 866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678 for mental health support specialized for the LGBTQI community.
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Additional Resources for Teens

These online resources are free and may help you and your friends cope with stress and manage your mental health during these uncertain times.

  1. Jed Foundation: Guidance on how to recognize a friend’s emotional distress online and how to get that friend help. Help a Friend in Need: A Guide for Facebook and Instagram.
  2. TeensHealth: A safe place for teens to access honest and accurate information on mental health issues including specific information about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and coping with stress. Coronavirus (COVID-19): How You Can Make a Difference, Stress and Coping Center.
  3. National Alliance on Mental Health: Information for teens and young adults about managing mental health and supporting friends. Teens and Mental Health.

It’s important to stay connected with your friends while practicing physical distancing and provide support however you can. There are fun ways to stay connected using technology and simple self-care strategies you can do at home to help manage your mental health.

teen MHFA is expanding and will be available to every school in the country in Fall 2020. Learn more at mhfa.org/teens